Have You Made Something Lately?

What happens when a bunch of art teachers get together?


Each week, my elementary art team meets twice for an hour or an hour and a half each.  We have the PLC model at my school, and therefore all teachers get the opportunity to meet together to plan, share ideas, work on assessments and look at data for our art students.  I am the facilitator for this group.  One thing that has been missing from our meetings is the MAKING art. Shouldn’t art teachers be making things in order to learn best practice in use of materials, process and media? YES. They should!

One of my colleagues shared this collagraph lesson with all of us. It was an innovative use of scrap materials in our rooms, fulfilled our curriculum standard of collage and proved to be a great printmaking tie-in.  Most of us had never tried this, so lots of new learning took place as a part of our little art making session.

Sometimes getting back to basics of simple art making will make art teacher feel right at home. Getting out materials, trying new things and experimenting before you jump in head first with kids is always time well spent.  This art making session truly brought the joy back into our meetings. Since then, we’ve tried to add more making and trying into our PLC, instead of just talking and sharing. I think it’s a winner!

So, I must ask all of you- Have you Made Something Lately?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • I love collographs. Your meetings sound fun. I so want to play with you guys! What is PLC?

    • Marcia and Angie- A PLC is a professional learning community, which provides in contract time for common planning time and collaboration between teachers of like disciplines. When we meet, that is our prep time, however, we are working toward student learning goals during this meeting. PLC’s focus on 4 questions- What do students know? How do we know they’ve learned it? What happens when they aren’t learning it? What happens when they already know it?

      I will do some PLC posts soon. It’s a great model and I know a lot of schools are moving this way. We went from meeting once a year, to twice a week. It’s really improved all of our teaching and student learning!!!

  • I don’t know what PLC is, either, but I’m really amazed that you can get together with other art teachers for 2 1/2 hours a week. Is this part of the work day or all after school? I’ve been excited to get together with some of the elementary art teachers in my district once a month. What an incredible opportunity!

  • I love teaching collographs – I tie it in with music and they have to create their collage based on lines and shapes they drew while listening to different kinds of music. Another thing that amazes the kids is double printing them using two different colors. Here it is on Artsonia:

  • This looks like fun!

  • I love this idea – too often we as art teachers get so wrapped up in teaching art that we forget how important it is to keep making art